Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced that the Senate passed legislation to promote and enhance civic education. The legislation, which passed by a 32-4 vote, reflects an innovative approach to strengthening civic learning and participation in the Commonwealth.
“We are on the verge of enacting civic education curriculum that is critical to equipping our next generation with the tools and information needed to be active and engaged citizens,” said Senator Moore. “Civic education is an essential component for the survival of our precious democracy and I was proud to work with my colleagues in the Senate to advance this measure.”
The legislation enacts a hands-on and experiential approach to fostering civic engagement. The bill incorporates project-based learning components, encourages the instruction of civic competencies, and provides extracurricular civic-participation opportunities. The curriculum is made possible by the Civics Project Trust Fund, which will provide funding for professional development and for the further development of curriculum frameworks.
The legislation also compliments and enhances efforts currently undertaken by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to update the History Social Studies Framework. The last time these standards were revised was in 2003 and the proposed revisions include a strong focus on civic education, and to challenge students to deepen their understanding of history, geography, and economics.
Provisions of the bill passed by the Senate are the result of eighteen months of collaboration amongst a bipartisan working group of legislators and stakeholders. Initial efforts to implement civic education standards also date back to a 2012 report by the Special Commission on Civic Engagement and Learning. The Commission’s final recommendations included input from key leaders within the area of civic education including former Senator Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge) who served as Chair of the Special Commission.
The bill, S.2375, has been referred to the House of Representatives for consideration. To continue tracking the legislation, please visit the Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.